Overhauling Judi’s Freewheel + updates

While I was working in the attic with Ezra he noticed that Judi was quite rusty in parts, mainly because I put her away without properly scrubbing everything down. And so I took apart her drivetrain and he helped me scrub. But when I went to reassemble the rear wheel I noticed that it felt a little loose and wobbly. The middle gears had felt a little strange when riding lately, and that explains it. So I took apart the freewheel and overhauled it. Now it is running smoothly.

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Wow! I discovered this post in my drafts. Seems like I wrote it (mostly) and then forgot about it for…shit, like, half a year. So there ya go. I had put Judi away for the winter a little earlier than usual since she had developed a flatting problem. It turned out that I had some crushed glass in the front wheel, so I assumed that was the problem. I ended up getting new tires, the same Paselas but with the extra bit of flat resistance. When the weather got good I put the new tires on with new tubes. I pumped up the first one, set it aside, and as I turned to the rear wheel I heard that damned “pfffffffffftttttsssssssssssss…” I won’t lie, I got unreasonably upset by this. But at that point I said fuck it and I went ahead and pumped up the rear tire. I had originally planned to just ride the bike to work the next morning, but since it was getting late and I had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning I decided to just deal with the front tire the following afternoon.

But of course when I got home from work the next day I found that both tires were flat. Since I had already gotten unreasonably mad the day before, in fact within the last 12 hours, I decided to stay calm and treat it like a mystery that I had to solve. A really irritating mystery. It seemed that all the punctures were now coming from the inside, so the first thing I did was to very carefully go over all of the spokes to see if anything was poking up. I also looked and felt along every millimeter of the rim for any rough spots, and did end up sanding down a couple of questionable areas, though I don’t know if that was actually necessary. I then replaced the front tube again and followed through till it was pumped up to 80psi. While I was just starting to futz with the other wheel, satisfied in a job well done (that’s not true, I actually sat there with my eyes fixed on the front wheel just waiting for something to go wrong) the tire went flat. I can’t say how mad I got at this point because I blacked out. But when I came to later I discovered that I had angrily, but successfully, removed the tires and tubes from the rims and found the new punctures, also located along the inside of the tubes.

At this point I called my friends at the gear hub to see if they had any advice on what else I should check. They suggested that it might be the rim strips and that perhaps new ones made out of cloth would work better. Luckily they had those so I ran over and grabbed a pair. When I got home later I used alcohol to clean the inside of the rims thoroughly, then I carefully applied the new strips. When the time came to assemble everything again I decided to try an experiment. Some of the tubes got punctures also along the side wall where the tube itself had a seam. I was worrying that perhaps I was using cheap tubes and that this was part of my problem. I had gotten a set of 10 made by Avenir but they seemed less stretchy and relatively brittle compared to the Kendas that I had had in the tires originally. So I used yet another new tube in the front but in the back I just use a patched up Kenda tube that had originally been in that tire before all of the flatting began. At this point it’s been a couple of months and I have not had any issues with the tires. But during the first week after all of this business I was very careful riding on them and always had a new tube and a patch kit on me. Though I should probably do that all the time anyway.

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Author: GoodToBLee

I live in Portland, Maine. I read a lot, I bike a lot. I have too many hobbies and I'm trying to cool out on that. I have a constant stream of consciousness going on in my mind, and oftentimes I find it picks up a theme. Sometimes it really runs with that theme and it will become a part of my life to one extent or another. I'm going to try to write about that, whatever that may prove to mean.

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